Knoxville woman pleads guilty for fraudulently collecting over $500K in COVID-19 relief loans

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The founder of a business that offers Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services, as well as support services like child care, tutoring, anger management, and case management, has plead guilty to one count of executing a wire fraud scheme. Enlightenment Family Care Inc. CEO Porsha Tims Bush, 41, entered the plea Thursday, Aug. 5, in U.S. District Court.

According to court filings, from March to June 2020, Bush applied for 10 COVID-19 relief loans of more than $547,000 through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Bush submitted false and fraudulent applications under the names of various companies that either did not qualify for relief funds or that did not exist. 

Bush submitted fabricated supporting records and made false statements about the number of employees she had, the revenue she generated, and the number of payroll expenses she incurred.  Bush also made false statements about the corporate entities and the intended use of the loan proceeds.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bush “used the money to pay off personal debt, pay for personal travel, purchase clothes and electronics, and to fund her daily lifestyle.”

In one instance, on March 30, 2020, Bush submitted an online application to the SBA seeking $150,000 in EIDL funds for Enlightenment Family Care. On the application, Bush falsely claimed that the company employed four individuals, generated more than $335,000 in gross revenue, and paid wages of more than $45,000 in the 12 months preceding the COVID-19 pandemic. She also provided fraudulent service forms and tax returns.

Law enforcement obtained warrants to seize approximately $77,820.44 in fraudulent proceeds held in three bank accounts controlled by Bush. As set forth in the filed plea agreement, Bush will forfeit these seized funds to the United States. She has also agreed to pay restitution to the victims of her fraud scheme in the amount of $471,621.

According to the Enlightenment Family Care website the company offers a PSR Program, a recovery-oriented education program that provides an alternative to therapy by using education to promote and sustain recovery. The company has offices in Knoxville and Houston.

Sentencing is set for 2 p.m. Jan. 7. Bush faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years. 

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